Johnny Cash was the king of cool with his dark clothing, devil may care look and every man's sound. His music career spanned decades and his music is still popular today, after his death. His songs have themes of jail time, drug use, love, rock n' roll and hard times. He was the bad boy's (and bad girl's) answer to the wholesome Elvis Presley. Sure, Elvis Presley gyrated, but his lyrics were Bible verses compared to Cash's lyrics.
It seems bizarre then that one of Johnny Cash's songs was written by a man who is also popular for such lines as, "And it gives me a scare, to know he's in there, that Polary bear, in our Frigidaire." That's right. The man who brought us "Where the Sidewalk Ends" and "A Light in the Attic" is the very same man who brought us Johnny Cash's humorous and rough song "A Boy Named Sue." That man is Shel Silverstein.
"A Boy Named Sue" is a song about a boy whose father left him when he was a baby. The one thing his father ever did for him was to name him Sue. Well, Sue grew up being picked on so he started getting mean. When he got older, he decided to hunt for his Dad and kill him. When he finds him and the two fight, his father reveals the reason he named him Sue -- so he would grow up tough. Sue sees his father's point and thus the song ends. It has a funny twist like one would expect from Silverstein, but it also has the grit and barroom etiquette that one would expect from Johnny Cash.
If you take the time to get to know all of Silverstein's work, his contribution to the career of the Man in Black is not surprising. He was not just a children's poetry writer. He wrote a number of songs and was even a singer in his own right. However, at first glance, the scenario is as bizarre as can be. It's kind of like finding out one of the writers of Nickelodeon's "Eureka's Castle" was a 60's folk singer who was most definitely on drugs when she recorded her music. That is true, by the way. Those whacky artists.